This comprehensive guide to living well with chronic illness is the next best thing to having a knowledgeable, close friend by your side. Susan Milstrey Wells ushers readers through every stage of the journey that anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia must travel. The author’s own struggle with Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Interstitial Cystitis brings not only credibility but also a sense of personal understanding to her writing.
The book is thoroughly researched and extremely well-organized, covering every aspect of living with chronic illness. Chapter topics include: the search for a diagnosis, finding a health care partner, dealing with emotions and doubts, searching for treatments, discovering ways to feel better, managing relationships, and changing the way we look at work. Each chapter is divided into sub-headings, and the writing is clear and concise, making it easy to follow whether you read it from cover to cover or use it as a reference for locating information on specific topics. The meticulous organization of each chapter is provided by an author who clearly knows the frustration of mental fogginess that often accompanies chronic illness. It also makes it a pleasure to read and a good reference text for health care practitioners who seek information that will enable them to better help their patients.
As a professional writer and editor for more than 20 years, Susan Milstrey Wells not only incorporates skilled writing, but frequently cites appropriate research to support her statements. She quotes a variety of researchers and writers of books on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses, as well as her extensive interviews with individuals. The book contains historical and medical information for the curious intellectual, as well as quiet reassurance for the heart. I smiled, giggled, and mostly nodded with recognition at her vivid descriptions of the various struggles of living with illness.
The author writes with the scholarly authority of one who has thoroughly researched her subject. More importantly, she demonstrates the heartfelt understanding that only someone who has struggled with her own health could have. It is no surprise that her treatment of each topic is “balanced.” For example, she delicately walks the tightrope of the debate over conventional versus alternative medicine. She contributes information on both sides of the issue, aiming to provide a “discussion [that] will at least be reasoned, if not conclusive.” She encourages readers to discover their own opinions about what works for them.
The author’s perspective is ultimately hopeful and inspiring, as evidenced by her concluding chapter, “The Gift of Chronic Illness.” This book is not the work of a Pollyanna who says you can heal yourself through positive thinking. Rather, it is the acknowledgment of a journey through extraordinary challenges, even bitterness and despair, along with a variety of tools for creating a hopeful future. I highly recommend you read this book, and I believe it will be a treasured volume on your shelf that you will refer to frequently. As the author writes, “May you find your own delicate balance.”